View Full Version : Pastel Strokes February 2009

01-31-2009, 10:24 PM

Welcome to the February 2009 Pastel Strokes!

Those who have participated in previous months already know the guidelines. For all newbies to this monthly challenge, they are as follows:

* Interested participants create a painting from the photo and upload it to this thread for viewing and discussion.
* The image may be cropped, rearranged, and interpreted in any manner! Use different effects in your software program and try painting something different, tweak the color, add or subtract things. This is a friendly chance to share the creative venture. Have fun with it!
* You may paint as many versions as you like, and they may be any size.

The following photos are those that I have taken on trips, there is a rock formation and also a water reflection landscape, both from Steamboat Rock State Park in Eastern Washington. There is a still life that I set up and a photo of a man that modelled in Borrego Springs, California for a drawing group, he is most interesting and a fellow artist.

Any questions just please PM me and I will help if I can!


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jan-2009/79007-IMGP3074.jpg Hello


Kathryn Wilson
01-31-2009, 11:03 PM
These are exciting photos Judy! Thanks for hosting the Pastel Strokes for this month.

K Taylor-Green
02-01-2009, 10:01 AM
Very nice photos, Judy! Something for everyone. Thanks for doing this!

Paula Ford
02-01-2009, 10:27 AM
Great photos Judy!

Donna T
02-01-2009, 12:21 PM
Gorgeous photos! Thanks for hosting, Judy. I look forward to seeing what everyone does with these.


Winny Kerr
02-01-2009, 07:20 PM
Great photo's, something for everyone.
Thank you for hosting Judy, especially as you are having fun in sunny Anza Borrego.:wave: Winny

02-01-2009, 09:39 PM
Hi ladies, you are welcome, I am looking so forward to seeing what the artists on WC will paint from these photos!


02-02-2009, 06:41 AM
Great photos Judy! I'm going to participate this month for the first time. Seems like this is going to be LOTS of fun! Wahoo!

02-02-2009, 04:56 PM
Great photos, thank you, Judy! All of them are so exciting. I'm going to try for one of these this month, I love this feature.

CM Neidhofer
02-02-2009, 07:08 PM
I'm in too! Starting this evening! Thanks for the great refs!


02-02-2009, 08:52 PM
Kym, Robert and Christine, thankyou, I am so looking forward to seeing your work and whoever else may post too!!

CM Neidhofer
02-03-2009, 05:03 PM
Okay, I guess I'll be first. I don't usually finish a painting in a day, but this one just kinda had a mind of it's own. The bowl just took over and decided it didn't want to be as short and squat as the one in the ref, soooo....here it is, good or bad!!! I really wanted to create a more painterly feel, which I'm not very good at yet, obviously. lol



02-03-2009, 08:00 PM
WOW Christine, I love it! Your pears are fantastic and so are the reflections!

The bowl can be whatever one wants!

Great job and thank you so much.... and it is painterly!!

CM Neidhofer
02-03-2009, 08:57 PM
Thanks, Judy! It looks a little more dramatic IRL than it does here. Colors aren't quite right in the photo.


02-04-2009, 11:28 AM
:wave: Great photos!

I see a couple I'd like to have a go at!
Thanks so much!

02-04-2009, 01:43 PM
Jump in Elsie! I would love to see what you do with these photos!

pulling up a chair!

02-04-2009, 01:46 PM
Christine, I know what you mean, I have yet to take a photo of a painting that really looks like the painting! Even with photoshop I always wish it could be as it is IRL!
But if yours is better in real life then you must be super pleased cuz I really like it in the photo!

Kathryn Wilson
02-04-2009, 02:59 PM
Hi Judy - I had a hard time chosing, but decided this would test something out that I've been wanting to do. This is on Ampersand with hard pastels (white is soft) - but I've never really liked this surface because I am so heavy handed with pastels. An instructor said to try this - Ampersand with hard pastels will force you to be lighter in application.

This is about an hour - I know the bowl is off a bit, but decided not to futz with it.


CM Neidhofer
02-04-2009, 10:49 PM
That's ok, Kathryn. My bowl is wonky too. My goal was try to loosen up with this one and get a more painterly effect. I'm too much of a blender and wanted to see my strokes with this one.


02-04-2009, 10:54 PM
Hi Kathryn,

This painting just glows! I really like it!

I am not sure if I have used Ampersand. Is it quite a rough surface, if it is I may have used it once!

But that was a good tip that you were given and isn't it just a lot of fun to try a new approach and be successful!!
And just one hour, that is impressive!

Kathryn Wilson
02-04-2009, 10:55 PM
That was my goal too - just to play around and see what comes of it.

Kathryn Wilson
02-04-2009, 10:58 PM
Hi Kathryn,

This painting just glows! I really like it!

I am not sure if I have used Ampersand. Is it quite a rough surface, if it is I may have used it once!

But that was a good tip that you were given and isn't it just a lot of fun to try a new approach and be successful!!
And just one hour, that is impressive!

Hi Judy - actually I've felt that Ampersand didn't have enough tooth. I almost couldn't tell that it had any kind of roughness to it and that's why I've had problems with it in the past because I used soft pastels and tried to get too many layers on.

So, yes, this might be good for folks who like to start out with hard pastels and two layers later add the highlights.

02-04-2009, 11:05 PM
Christine and Kathryn, I thought you may like to see this painting with the bowl that is a little off!

Painted by Paul Cezanne, so you are in good company!!

http://www.impressionniste.net/cezanne0102.jpg (, verre et pommes - 1880)

02-04-2009, 11:17 PM
Looks like everyone jumped right into the pears! I really don't do still life paintings at all and this was a challenge for me. Portraits are totally out and I usually do landscapes so I gave the pears a whirl. Thought the bowl was the hardest thing to do, but I'll let you be the judge! I thought I'd try out the turpenoid technique on this one and it was very interesting to work with. Also used a piece of homemade sanded watercolor paper and was a bit wavey to work with.
This was very fun and challenging,

02-04-2009, 11:31 PM
Hi Deb,

Good on you girl, for doing the photo that was not in your comfort zone!

And your version is making my eyes search every item, I love the orange/red/blue background and the reflected colours in the bowl. I find myself wanting to study each item to see what colour you used to paint it. Well done and thank so much for sharing.

I have not ever tried to do an underpainting but I see the advantage and I am now keen to try it myself!

Kathryn Wilson
02-05-2009, 11:48 AM
Deb, your bowl looks so lustrous - intriguing background too!

Kathryn Wilson
02-05-2009, 11:51 AM
I had such fun doing the pear photo, I decided to another one this morning as the first one is spoken for already!

Of course, the second time around proved not to be quite as loose, but there is a hint of a table there and I think the reflections and bowl are a bit better.


02-05-2009, 12:28 PM
Hi Kathryn,

I am not one bit surprised that the painting is spoken for, I expected it to sell to the first person to see it! It did remind me of Cezanne and got me looking up his work again. I loved the drawing lines that were beside the free standing pear that you did not paint right up to and the texture still showing through the bowl, the colours were perfect together.

The second one is beautiful too! I should send you more shots of this bowl and pears and you can do a series!

Kathryn Wilson
02-05-2009, 01:43 PM
I've always loved Cezanne's work - I am humbled to think this might remind you.

I hesitated to ask, but I'd love to have more shots of this bowl and pears. It's a lovely little bowl and would show off anything really well.

02-05-2009, 04:40 PM
Hi guys i haven't done a Pastel Challange in a long time so here goes....

1st Christine way to go to start it off! I think that you a succeeded with the painterly look, very dramatic background. I think this square round bowl is going to give alot of headaches:lol: me included!!!!

Katheryn wow this is cool i first thought Mary Cassett! i like this along with the 2nd you could probably do a whole bunch they would all look cool.

Deb this is great with the red underpainting with the blue ontop of it, it looks like they are excited jumping around in the bowl.

here is mine i did last night finally got to taking a photo just now.

10.5x9 C&C:heart: :evil:


Kathryn Wilson
02-05-2009, 04:55 PM
Great Betsy - you got the bowl just right! Your colors are gorgeous.

02-05-2009, 06:36 PM
thank you!

02-05-2009, 10:20 PM
Betsy, this is so very pretty, I just love it! I am so enjoying these pear and bowl paintings and truly loving the way everyone is not shy of colour, and I love colour!!

Kathryn, I just looked on my laptop that I have with me and there are no more of this pear and bowl shots on it, I must have them on the desktop at home, 2000 miles north of here! I have some other pear shots with me that I have taken with other bowls or plates under them which are just as nice and I think very interesting, just PM me with your email and I will send you my pear collection that I have on this laptop!

02-07-2009, 06:36 AM
ok not done but this is part of what i got. i need a confidence boost. just worked on something for 3 hours and then threw it in the trash. i want this to be good taking my time with it

Kathryn Wilson
02-07-2009, 07:59 AM
You are doing just fine - that's a well shaped pear. What paper are you working on?

Trashing your work means you want to do better and that's okay - more than okay, it means you care about what you are doing.

02-07-2009, 10:48 AM

It is frustrating to get into a painting and seeing it go into the trash but I do not think that there is a painter of any caliber that does not have to trash a piece once in a while!

You have a great painting in the making, the pear looks terrific so far, you must be very pleased with the start of this one!

02-07-2009, 12:57 PM
Koisdad great start! dont trash it

02-07-2009, 02:56 PM
its canson paper. the one i trashed was colorfix so it was a more expensive throw away.

Kathryn Wilson
02-07-2009, 03:06 PM
koisdad - before you throw any more expensive paper away, try this next time. Take a clean, stiff house brush and brush off all that you can - it will probably leave a ghosted image, but you can then take a painter's sponge brush and set any pastel left on the paper with water. At least you will have paper that you can practice on instead of in the trash.

Now, you can't do that with Canson, but you can do it with Colorfix, Wallis and Uart - just don't overload with too much water.

02-07-2009, 04:13 PM
i decided to stay away from the colorfix until i get better with color period. some people on here make their pastel painting wips look so effortless and beautiful. i guess im just too impatient to bide my time. i guess everyone goes through that.

02-07-2009, 04:33 PM
oh and another thing. anyone got any ideas on how to make the blemishes in the pears look more realistic? my goal is towards photorealism in the future.

02-07-2009, 04:47 PM
look at every Ponting post, demo, wip you can find on here, she is a fantastic realistic pastellist and a real gem of a person! her workshops are amazing!

02-08-2009, 12:24 AM
been working on this some more. my lack of color knowledge is making this take 10 times longer than i expected but i want to give it my best shot. any help appreciated

Kathryn Wilson
02-08-2009, 12:30 AM
koisdad, watch that the stem on the pear second from the right doesn't end on the edge of the pear on top of it

as to color, really look at the photo - don't paint - just look at it and let the colors come out - and what color you are going to use for the background and table will affect the color of the pears in that it will cast color onto the pears

02-08-2009, 10:18 AM
Leo, it is coming along really well, you are wise to go slow as everything you do and what it results in takes time to figure out. You probably already know this but always put down your darkest colours first and work up to the lightest, the other way usually makes mud.

Kathryn gave you good advice to keep checking with the photo and give some thought to your background and table colours as some will really make the green jump and others will subdue green.

I look forward to the next installment!!

02-08-2009, 12:22 PM
Judy, thanks for the wonderful subject photos.

After years of collecting pastels, scribbling a few marks on paper, wrinkling my nose in disgust at the mess and results, and putting the pastels away for another time, I have decided to give them a serious try. As I suspected, I am faced with a big learning curve on the mechanics of pastels. Yikes!

Here are my first two attempts. My focus was on applying the pastels, not the drawings.


My first try on the right side of Canson Mi-Teintes. Too rough for me at this time, but it was fun to see what happened with the pastels. I had never tried actual objects before (seriously, only 2-second color scribbles before), and building the layers is interesting.


My second try is on the wrong side of Canson Mi-Teintes. It's rougher than it feels to finger-touch, but I am much happier with the surface.

These are not keepers, but there is enough in them for me to try more, and my pastel collection is no longer pristine!

Kathryn Wilson
02-08-2009, 12:51 PM
It's so cool to see newbies try these photos ... it means we are doing something right in getting folks to try their pastels for the first time or for the second and third times.

Jenny, I'm glad you didn't focus on getting the objects perfect and that you are playing with the pastels to see what surface you like and how the pastels work with each other. Keep going!

02-08-2009, 01:34 PM
Thanks, Kathryn.

I have been reading through the pastel posts like crazy and learning a lot ... well, learning everything I know about pastels!

Actually using my pastels is a big step. It's easy to collect the pretty colors and admire pastel paintings, but working with them is something else. I knew they are supposed to be messy, but, wow!, the mess alone is a learning experience. My fingers are now embedded with pretty colors.

There is a lot of practice ahead for me.

Kathryn Wilson
02-08-2009, 01:39 PM
Are you painting on an easel or flat on a table? The preferred way is to have it at least vertical on an easel, so that the pastel falls into a hand-made trough that you can put under the painting.

02-08-2009, 02:50 PM
Kathryn, I used a table easel almost vertical and had Cling Wrap to catch the dust. I was "in the mood" and wouldn't take two minutes to make a better dust catcher. The Cling Wrap worked well. I'm not ready for actual vertical yet since I have always worked at an angle. My work area was fairly clean, but I was a mess. Luckily the kitchen sink and soap were nearby. My jeans are now in the wash.

Kathryn Wilson
02-08-2009, 03:51 PM
I started on the rock painting today. I am using a "used" Ampersand board (12x15) that I had dusted off a painting that didn't quite make it :)

As you can see, I changed the photo quite a bit from the one Judy posted. I just do that so I am not copying the photography of another artist. I flipped the image, cropped it quite a bit, upped the contrast, threw in more reds and yellows. This helps me see shapes and color better.

Once done with the drawing, I blocked in the base colors with hard pastels, then using a sponge brush wet the colors down. This dulled everything down, but this is good for me as I get too drawn to bold colors too early in my painting.

As an aside, I did not use this method on the pear still lifes.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Feb-2009/14941-rocks_-_wc_-_jwebber.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Feb-2009/14941-rocks2.jpg

02-08-2009, 05:52 PM
Hi Jenny,

I just checked in after a game of golf and saw your posts, you have made my day! Thank you so much for trying out the pears and having some fun with them.

Your drawings were pretty good for a person that was not trying to get them right! You did great and the reflection in the second one is more prominent when you used the rougher side that you liked! So....keep on getting dusty and yes, indeed, it is a dusty medium. I started to use those latex gloves that are cheap at Costco this past year as I could never get my nails clean before. I have a great apron with big pockets to hold rags to wipe my hands and the pastels on if they have picked up some other colour.

I look forward to seeing your work more often and seeing how it evolves with "playing" for fun!!

Great start Kathryn and a good crop and enhancement job, I like to do this too as most photos are not as good as the scenery actually was. Thanks for the tip on the sponge brush, I am going to pick one up!
Can't wait to see your progress and hopefully your work will get some others doing some "rocks"!! Cheers!

02-09-2009, 11:33 AM
rgb good start when i work with canson i apply a light 1st layer of pastel and use a makeup sponge or kneeded eraser to smush it all over so there is an even covering without white paper showing through. then i layer as i would normally do. Keep at it, what other media have you used before?

Kathryn cool or warm ;) start i hope you show more steps with this one....i cannot do rocks!!

02-09-2009, 02:06 PM
Betsy, I tried something similar with the first one using my fingers then tissue paper. They both took off more pastel than I expected. I'll get used to the mechanics of this eventually.

A couple of years ago I started drawing followed too soon with watercolors. Occasionally I've played with colored pencil and watercolor pencil. Without getting watercolors under my belt, I decided to dive into oils last summer and have done eleven so far. No keepers anywhere, but I'm having fun.

The pastels may give me the most trouble after watercolor, and it's the mechanics of both that give me problems, though only a couple of tries with the pastels isn't enough to increase my skill level. *lol*

Tracy Lewis
02-10-2009, 06:37 PM
Great work from you all. I started mine last night, not got around to working on it today though. Keep up the good work.

02-10-2009, 07:26 PM
Hi Tracy, which photo are you painting? I will watch for your post, thank you!!

Shirl Parker
02-10-2009, 10:51 PM
I went to a pastel class this afternoon, against my better judgement. I wanted to learn more about using PanPastels, but this teacher had never used them. I did learn one thing, so it wasn't a total loss, and I got this much done on the challenge for this month.

PanPastel, 5x7 on Richeson sanded paper, which I will be so glad when it's gone. You need to lean back from the screen a bit to see it best.


Kathryn Wilson
02-10-2009, 11:11 PM
I agree with you on the Richeson paper and boards ... too grainy for me!

what did you like about the pan pastels? they are very smooth to work with, but I only have one color

Shirl Parker
02-10-2009, 11:19 PM
Well, the thing I like best about the Pans is the dustfree nature. Virtually, anyway. And the colors are bright. I have the full set, as I didn't see any point in fooling around buying bits and pieces. Would have been more expensive in the long run. I really crave some personal one on one with Donna A.

02-10-2009, 11:31 PM
Kathryn, I love what you did with the rock painting. I couldn't recognize the reference and had to go back to look at it to figure out which one you used. It blew me away.

Shirl, your pears have a soft beauty to them. I like how you did the reflections and the shape of the bowl, the bowl is so three dimensional.

Jenny, both of yours are interesting! I think of the basketweave texture as the wrong side of Canson mi-Tientes. The smooth side has enough tooth for good effects and doesn't create that texture to disrupt everything. I only use the basketweave side if I want to have a lot of broken lines and work loose and deliberately want that texture.

02-11-2009, 12:17 AM
Hi Shirl,

good job!! I have not tried pan pastels so I enjoyed seeing what you have done. Richeson I did not like at first either but it is growing on me now and I too have a lot to use up!

Robert, thank you for dropping by! Any chance you are thinking of doing one of these photos, I would love to see your interpretation of one!

Kathryn Wilson
02-11-2009, 02:43 PM
Here's my second installment on the rocks. I don't DO rocks so this is great practice for me. Base layers of colors and establishing lights and darks. Lightened the sky at the horizon.


02-11-2009, 04:01 PM
I am loving it Kathryn!

02-11-2009, 05:16 PM
I am watching this with great interest Kathryn.....just trying pastels for the first time I find them very difficult to use...they seem to miss spots when laying down with flat pastel... don't know yet how to use them properly.


Kathryn Wilson
02-11-2009, 05:50 PM
Kathy - this first layer of color over the underpainting was done with the flat side of the pastel. You want layers of color and eventually the layers will fill in those spots ... use your pastels lightly in each layer so that the colors underneath will come through.

02-11-2009, 07:58 PM
Thanks Kathryn,

Making my first attempts at pastel on Don's thread below: Had some successes and then seem to lose it a bit....ah well....will keep at it.



02-11-2009, 08:51 PM
Looking good, Kathryn! I love the warm colors and powerful presence your rocks have. You really liven up that gray and brown landscape.

Judy, I'm tempted to try one of them. I've got to finish the Gray Painting first though, then I need to at least start catching up on the two and a half assignments overdue for Still Life the Colourful Way. If I don't get at them during February, is it all right to catch up on them later?

02-12-2009, 10:22 AM
Hi Robert,

You are so busy!

Of course you may do any of these photos anytime that you have a moment. I do not imagine that this thread will stay as a sticky for much past the end of February but I am sure it will be available still. I would love to see your painting from any of these photos very much!

02-12-2009, 04:57 PM
Here is my pears. Done on pastel paper.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Feb-2009/78136-Pears_in_a_dish.jpg

02-12-2009, 08:03 PM
Light and bright, Gill! I like the softness of your shading, it's very loose and fresh. Neat original style!

Well, I gave in to the temptation! At least in a small way, anyway.

Here's a Notan of an idea for the reflecting water landscape:


Every time Charlie mentions in her goals "Study Notan and practice doing Notans" she reminds me that I should use them more often -- and actually draw them instead of looking at a reference and imagining them. My head isn't Photoshop or even Gimp. I can forget something I thought of while looking at a reference or a scene.

But this little Notan note will remind me that I thought it was a cool crop for the reference and can do this skyless wonder of a landscape. I loved those angled ridged rocks. Heck, I could even do this all Colourist and everything.

But I think I should actually get a layer in on Bullies before I go to the next stage on this. Maybe I'll alternate projects and start catching up.

I have started and the idea is jotted. I'm not going to just forget about it now. Notans are good for that too. I might do a small study first in oil pastels like I did for Sea Crash too, that'd be neat.

02-12-2009, 11:14 PM
Hi Gill,

I agree with Robert that your work is very light and bright, thank you so much for posting your interpretation of that pears photo. We have had and amazing variety of styles to enjoy from it!

Hi Robert,

Notans are a great tool and I like this one that you have done.
I am very keen to see your painting from this crop, show us as soon as you find the time between all the projects and assignments that you are doing! You are one dedicated pastellist! Cheers!

02-13-2009, 04:35 PM
Jenny strangly enough i find that my kneaded eraser when shaped into an oil paintbrush does a good job of keeping the pastel pigments in the painting.

Shirl this is nice but yes grainy....maybe going in with regular pastels now will solidify it more? Use the panpastels for the underpainting part? not sure how they work myself, I just ordered two from Dick Blick to try them out.

Kathryn for someone who doesn't do rocks they look pretty good to me. the blue in the sky creates a great dynamic with the yellow rock formation.

Kathy Im not sure what paper you use but i have been working with colorfix which is water resistant. I put a layer of a harder pastel (nupastel/remb) and go over them with a brush and water or sometimes a fine mist of water and it really has helped alot for me.

Gill very nice pears, with a sense of modeling/2Dness on the the table one good job.

02-13-2009, 07:07 PM
Kathy Im not sure what paper you use but i have been working with colorfix which is water resistant. I put a layer of a harder pastel (nupastel/remb) and go over them with a brush and water or sometimes a fine mist of water and it really has helped alot for me.

I think it is colorfix I am using Betsy (I lost the label) and am storing up these guidelines from you and Kathryn in a special folder to help me in my experiments.

Thanks ....Kathy

02-13-2009, 07:37 PM
Hi everyone, I thought I'd give the Red Rocks a go since it is about as far away from my comfort zone as you can get. I also thought I'd try for a totally different style. I did a very bright underpainting and went for a more sketchy look. Here's what I've got so far. I don't like the wash (the front left part) at all, but am rather at a loss as for what to do about it.

02-13-2009, 09:49 PM
Kym, you have done very well considering you are not a "rocks" painter! This is very lively and bright, thank you so much for doing the Strokes challenge and posting it.

02-13-2009, 10:02 PM
Gee Kym, I love the colours. Kathy

02-13-2009, 10:19 PM
ok heres more work done on the pears. i quit working on them because i was stuck as to what to do next. i got lost so i just been wingin it

02-13-2009, 10:20 PM
not done yet but im going really slow with it. i dont know what to do with the background

02-13-2009, 10:34 PM
Hi Leo,

I am so glad to see you are still working on this. Going slow is good! What effect would you like the background to have, calming, dramatic, old world?

02-13-2009, 10:44 PM
well to be honest i havent thought of that part. the pears look muddy to me so i just want something that will make them stand out. i just bought a book on color theory today so maybe it will help me in the future. i have absolutely no clue what im doing lol.

02-14-2009, 12:36 AM
All the pears and bowls are amazing.

Kym, love the red rocks.

Been a while since I have posted anything (fighting a wrist injury) but, like so many others, could not resist trying the pears.


02-14-2009, 11:16 AM

you are doing just great, no lessons or workshops so far just self taught, trust me you are doing better than anyone would dream of! books are terrific and a colour theory book is a great choice. be sure to pass on any tips that you find in there that may you say ahhhhhh!


as you said the paintings have been fantastic and yours just added one more to that category. your style is different again from the others and I am loving seeing how every person treats this differently from the next.
thanks, Kay and I hope your wrist gets a lot better so you do not waste that talent much longer!

02-14-2009, 02:01 PM
Kay, your version of the pears is lovely. I like the delicate realism on the bowl, I can really feel the slick surface. The pears are so cool looking, I like your strokes on them.

Leo, your pears don't look muddy to me. They look like pears, the fruit does have that much color variation. One thing occurs to me about the background -- it would look cool shaded lighter toward the right where the light's coming from and darker toward the left away from it, also a bit yellower to the right and a bit bluer to the left.

This would work whether you kept it that pink or turned it brown to make the pears jump out brighter. If it's black shading up into golden brown or grays or muted colors it'll look classical. If it's blue-gray shading up into browns it could look really good too. Just some thoughts. Or just that shading on the pink would make it a lively painting that looks like the setup's in a room with a pink wall.

02-14-2009, 11:40 PM
This is so good to see all these pastels unfold. Kathy

02-14-2009, 11:40 PM
Hi all,
I couldn't resist the pears either.
This is about the 5th or 6th pastel that I have done in my life ( and about half of them have been oils which I find very hard to use but intriguing).
Anyway, I am learning so much from this group it's just awesome. I hope to keep up with these lessons while I am attempting to learn color theory and basic art techniques.
This was rough drawn on 11 X 9 sketch paper with HB pencil then somewhat blocked with NuPastel hard pastels then completed with Blick brand soft pastels. This was completed start to finish in about an hour. The colors here are much darker than the original.

I've got some Rembrandts and Senns on the way so I hope that I can live up to them.
- Doug

02-15-2009, 10:51 AM
Hi Doug,

Thank you for giving the pears a go! I like the colours that you used in the pears.

I read your intro post, welcome to WC and to getting dusty! Yes there is a lot to learn and you can get so many answers here from those that have been doing pastels for a long time.

Have you tried pastel paper at all? Sketch paper will not take much pastel, sanded papers will, with sanded paper you will be able to start with the nupastels and finish with the senneliers.

And if you want to try a variety of different pastels, DakotaPastels.com offers a sampler of different brands. Nupastels are great for detail and for first layers and the sennelier that you have coming will fill in the paper much faster. On DakotaPastels website they show the order of hardness to softness of each of the brands, which I found helpful when I started with pastels.

I look forward to seeing what you do with your new supplies! Happy painting and again welcome to WC!

02-15-2009, 05:28 PM
regarding paper - I'm definitely having trouble getting the effects I want on the sketch paper. I've just gotten some Artagain 400 series pastel paper with assorted tints and a pad of Sennelier Pastel (also various tints) that I hope will show better results. I know I'll need to step up to much better paper but I hate to waste $4 sheets on my early efforts...


02-15-2009, 05:41 PM
Doug, that is great. For a first pastel it does not look like a first pastel, it's well organized and I like the way you handled the reflections.

For paper, if you want something better than the Artagain and don't have a lot to spend, I have one suggestion. Pint of clear Colourfix primer and a big cheap watercolor pad with 140lb paper. Student watercolor paper is fine. I've been using good sanded surfaces for all my studies and sketches too ever since I got that $10 pint of primer from Blick. If I want to do a serious painting I go to either printed Colourfix or use the same primer on good all-rag watercolor paper.

But I don't feel bad at all when I'm using the cheap practice watercolor paper for pastels -- and when it's primed with the Colourfix it has the lovely layer-holding surface that lets me get all those great effects. It comes in colors too and I'm planning on eventually getting more colors. Clear is the most versatile though, since you can use bad watercolor paintings as underpaintings with it or do deliberate underpainting or wash in any color. If you ever tried watercolors, you may already have lots of watercolor paper around.

Alternately some folks use acrylic gel mediums with pumice or marble dust mixed in. I already had tried the clear Colourfix and found out that the sand in it is as clear as the medium, so the sketch shows through and the primer seals it so the graphite or charcoal doesn't get up into the dusty pastel layers. I even tried the primer on Canson mi-Tientes, but it cockled because it wasn't heavy enough. 140lb watercolor paper or scrap mat board is best for what to put under the primer.

Oh yeah, boards work well with that primer too. Mat scrap is wonderful stuff to draw on. Even without primer it's got some tooth and comes in various handy colors. Sometimes you can get mat scrap from framers if you ask. When I lived in New Orleans, most of the frame shops put out big boxes of mat scrap for artists to scrounge through periodically.

02-15-2009, 06:50 PM
Kym beautiful bright. If it were mine...i would sort of phase out the road and continue on the scrub bushes.

Leo its coming alone nicely.. backgrounds were really hard for me in the beginning until i started putting it in at the beginning of my paintings, as long as you have the same value you can sorta change up the colors if you decide to later on...within reason;)

Kay beautiful pears! hope your wrist gets better soon.

Beautiful and in an hour. bold colors :)

Tracy Lang
02-15-2009, 09:47 PM
Judy, Thanks for putting up such great photos!
I love seeing all our wonderful interpretations of them and will comment in depth later...hubby is hungry :)
I switched this one up a bit and had fun painting!!! Pretty quick on that fabulous somerset paper about 9x12.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Feb-2009/75377-FebPastelStrokes.jpg


02-15-2009, 10:08 PM
I did this on colorfix pastel paper 9x12, have only done about four goes at pastels and thought this was a good practice piece.


02-16-2009, 02:59 PM
Beautiful pears so far!
Tracy, love the colors in your scene!
I had to give the pears a try, too...Here's my version, without the bowl detail...but it might have been a bit overdone...

C&C always welcomed

02-16-2009, 03:19 PM
Hi Tracy,

Nice work and so great to see a landscape chosen from the pics! Great colour use! I have not heard of Somerset, is it a bit like Canson Mi-teintes, unsanded?

02-16-2009, 03:23 PM
Hi Helen, just your 4th go! You are a natural, keep painting with pastels! Very nice piece!

Hi Judi, very nice colours and I do not see it as overdone at all. love the drawing lines showing, I must do that too sometime, I liked the effect when I saw Katheryn do it and I like it again in yours.

Thanks gals for sharing your work!

02-17-2009, 12:35 AM
anyone planning on giving the portrait a shot?

Shirl Parker
02-17-2009, 01:19 AM

02-17-2009, 01:37 AM
okay since im the newbie ill subject myself to the torture. ill be posting soon working on it now!!!! ill be ready for my first slaughter shortly

Art Dude
02-17-2009, 09:41 AM
Hello, thought i would try the Still Life!. Size 12" X 9", Daler Ingres 90g Pastel Paper using Rembrandt Soft Pastels.

02-17-2009, 10:36 AM
Leo, I am sitting on the edge of my seat! I am so thrilled that the portrait is being tackled! I hope you enjoy this as this would be the toughest of all challenges IMHO!

Shirl, what do you mean nope!!

Art Dude, thank you for posting this and you did a great job on the proportions and the detail, the pears look like I could bite right into them!

Art Dude
02-17-2009, 01:17 PM
Thank you Judy, this is my fourth pastel ever and i'm enjoying the experience although much to learn!

Shirl Parker
02-17-2009, 03:14 PM
anyone planning on giving the portrait a shot?


Shirl, what do you mean nope!!

No portraits from this dudette:thumbsup:

02-17-2009, 06:22 PM
Not from me. Pure laziness on my part. If I try a portrait, I would have to draw it first. I tried the bowl of fruit first because of the simple shapes, and I wasn't concerned with the actual drawing for my first try with pastels. I'm doing the desert scenic next that is a hoot because I can't do decent foliage in an medium, including pencil. I've aimed and landed colors in various areas on my paper. Not too bad so far. Okay, not too good either.

02-17-2009, 06:48 PM
Well I am seeing a pattern- myself, Art dude and Helenty are all at the 4 or 5 pastel mark (and all chose the pears as well). So some newbies making their mark (sorry I couldn't resist; no groaning)...

Anyway, February is moving along quickly for me but I hope to try a landscape on some of that spanking new sanded paper I got from the house of Blick. I love this exercise and discuss/critique format. My heart was set on doing landscape but now 'still life' looks cool because of this. Sent me in a direction that I didn't expect.


02-17-2009, 08:34 PM
Shirl, this is a cropped and colour and brightness enhanced job that I thought might get you going!!

This could be so dramatic! I would keep the background very dark and let his hair fade into it.


Kathryn Wilson
02-17-2009, 09:24 PM
That's cool Judy - this cuts out all the extraneous stuff and gets down to the core of this dude.

02-18-2009, 01:39 PM
Here's my third try with pastels.


This time the pastels were much easier to handle! A long way to go, but the touch-and-feel part of pastels might be starting to register. Very little mess on my clothes and me this time.

02-18-2009, 02:52 PM
Exciting photos. Can't wait to have some fun!

02-18-2009, 02:52 PM
Hi Jenny,

Well done, girl! For a newbie you are just coming along great guns! Nice colour palette, very pretty!

02-18-2009, 02:54 PM
Thanks Patricia, I look very forward to seeing your work from the photos! Nice website, I took a peek!

Tracy Lewis
02-18-2009, 04:03 PM
Hello everyone. Great works here from you all. Here's my attempt. It's taken so long to finish that I have forgotten which paper I have used. It's A4 size with limited unison pastels.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Feb-2009/101106-100_0081.jpg

Tracy Lewis
02-18-2009, 04:05 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Feb-2009/101106-101106-100_0081.jpg I might just go back and try to straighten out that bowl

02-18-2009, 05:16 PM
sigh... art is so frustrating. heres my first few hours of work on the portrait. im so lost. think i better read more.

02-18-2009, 11:18 PM
Hi Tracy,
thank you for posting all the way from Wales!! I am so impressed with all the pear paintings! Nice work and again the colours of the pears are fantastic!

Hey Leo, do not be so hard on yourself, you are just learning!

I find doing a graph works best when I am needing to get a likeness. Try putting a graph on the photo and then using the same proportions on your painting paper and the drawing will be much easier. Do you know what I mean by that?
I wish I was better at photoshop to do a graph for you on that photo but I have no idea how to do that!!

But I would make a graph with four equal lines down and across, which shows that his sideburns are pretty much halfway across his face and you will see that his hair on the far side is in line with his right eye. His throat where it meets his chest is also behind the right eye. Right now you have his face a bit wide.
I have searched the web for a better explanation than I am giving and found this link


Let me know what you think about his approach

02-19-2009, 01:46 PM

Thought I'd give this portrait a try. It isn't quite finished, but I don't want to spend much more time on it. He is an interesting subject.

02-19-2009, 04:19 PM
Nana, nice work! I like your use of colors.

02-19-2009, 07:01 PM
What a marvelous job, Nana. I love it!

02-22-2009, 08:25 PM
Well, after months of lurking, I'm finally getting brave. This is my second pastel post. Art Spectrum pastels plus a bit of Carbothello pastel pencils on Light Blue Canson MT back side (8.5 x 11 in). I had a blast doing this. Please critique! The colors are redder IRL.


CM Neidhofer
02-22-2009, 09:17 PM
Very nice, Luana!!


02-23-2009, 10:09 AM
I fixed the color in Photoshop (I was using the wrong color space for Internet). This is closer to the original, but still a little duller than IRL.


02-23-2009, 10:57 AM
Hi Luana,

Thank you for coming out of the shadows and with such a beautiful rendition of the pears. Very nicely done and I do love the background colour, very elegant with the green pears!

02-23-2009, 12:26 PM
Luana, it's wonderful! Glad you joined the fun.

The change with Photoshop makes a positive difference. I aim for "close enough" with colors since different monitors will give various results. Besides, Photoshop tweaking can drive me nuts.

02-23-2009, 01:07 PM
Thank you Judy and Jenny.

I originally had the background a nice red-violet to give contrast to the pears, but it made you look at the background too much. It was better when I dulled it with the pear colors.

I vaguely knew that the internet worked better with Adobe RGB than the ProPhotoRGB that I use for photography work, but I didn't realize what a difference it made until I saw it here.


Mario V
02-23-2009, 02:34 PM
I wasn't excited about the gray background and I decided to do something more fun for me.
This was my first try on Wallis paper thanks to Charlie :clap: . Thanks Charlie :), I like it :D.
it is 8"x11" with Rembrandt and Sennelier pastels.

C&C welcome.


02-23-2009, 04:03 PM
Hi Mario!

thank you for posting your "pears". I like your work very much and also your background colour scheme, looks great with the green of the pears!

Nice Job!!!

02-23-2009, 05:34 PM
Mario, love the colors! Very exciting. Glad to hear you enjoyed using the Wallis paper.

CM Neidhofer
02-24-2009, 01:24 AM
Here's my WIP version of one of the landscapes. I'm terrible with landscapes, but wanted to work on something today. Some artistic license. The rocks took on more of a Colorado Red Rocks look and I thought it needed a path. I could be wrong, but it's there anyway! Terrible with the grasses and bushes as well, as you can see. :p


02-24-2009, 03:05 PM
Hi Christine,

You may think you are terrible at landscapes but I disagree, you excel at Rocks!!

You have made this photo your own with your changes and I like that very much!

Thanks for going for it, good job girl!!

CM Neidhofer
02-24-2009, 07:32 PM
Thanks, Judy. Maybe I should turn all the bushes into rocks??!!! lol I do enjoy painting rocks though. Anyway, thought this was a good place to give it a try.


02-24-2009, 09:46 PM
Ok, here is my Feb try. I picked the desert rock formation. Its my first time at rocks and a desert scene. I had to redo the swage brush three times to get it to this point. Terry Ludwig, Girualt, NeuPastels mostly. 8 x 10 on wallis paper. C & C welcomed. Lighting is a little bright but not to bad. thanks for looking.James

02-24-2009, 10:07 PM
Christine and Granddad, nice going! Lovin' the rocks, and the grasses and bushes aren't bad at all either.

The next time I try something like this, the foreground foliage will be cropped out so I can spend my time playing with the rocks.

02-24-2009, 11:44 PM
Well done James! I am so impressed with yours and everyone's rocks! good job on the mid ground as well, thank you so much for doing this scene and posting it! Cheers!

02-25-2009, 12:59 AM
I am Peg and I am new to posting in the forums. For a long time I sat back and absorbed information. Now I would like to show you what I did with portrait of the artist.
I noticed how close he reminded me of someone else we all know so that is what I focused on.

02-25-2009, 10:31 AM
Hi Peg,

Welcome to posting in the Pastel forum! It is nice to meet you!

Yes, I know of the similarity to which you refer, Ted does look like Him!

Well done and I look forward to seeing more of your work now that you have introduced yourself!

02-25-2009, 11:50 PM
Thank you for your comments Judy..
I appreciate them.

02-26-2009, 10:03 AM
hi peg!!!

i admire your courage to post. i too have been observing and absorbing. i am not very technical regarding computers.... i have been following don's lessons on painting the portraits in pastels in soft talk. they are great. i have not been brave enough to post. you took on a tough subject! great job. thanks for the inspiration. :)

02-26-2009, 09:39 PM
:wave: I haven't been able to post much lately, but I really wanted to have a go at this month's strokes. There is a great selection of paintings :thumbsup: . Great to see renditions of all the photos. Below is my attempt. On Canson, my least favorite paper, about 7 X 9". I had fun, and I got to try out my new sticks :D http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Feb-2009/103156-Feb_Strokes.JPG

Thanks for hosting JWebber!

02-26-2009, 10:42 PM
Pam, I love your use of colors in this one.

My new sticks don't work like yours. :rolleyes:

02-27-2009, 12:59 AM
[My new sticks don't work like yours. ]

:lol: Thanks Jenny. I tried this one because I thought the shapes would be the easiest, but then again it's always a challenge no matter what the subject. I thought your rocks were well done, they do look like rocks. I found this rock cliff a bit daunting and my values seem to be darker than I had wanted. At any rate, I wanted to get this posted before the end of the month.

Thanks again for commenting!

02-27-2009, 01:32 AM
Pam, I considered your choice because it seemed more simple than the rocks, then I realized I don't have the skill to give it a try. The rock scene, though at first glance seems more complicated, was easier for me than your choice with the water, the foliage, and the subtleties of the cliff face.

See ya' for the March Pastel Strokes!

02-27-2009, 11:25 PM
Hi Gingersnap..
Thank you. Yes I usually do the most difficult first. lol I don't know why. I appreciate your comment.

02-27-2009, 11:26 PM
I know this is not the best..but it is my attempt at this challenge...the Pears. I like how they turned out.

02-28-2009, 01:15 AM
Hi Pam, nice job on a tough subject and canson to boot, I do not like it either!! Thank you so much for doing the piece and posting it!

Hi Peg, I am glad that you enjoyed doing the pears, that is the whole idea of this post... an opportunity to try something new and share the experience with others who are doing the same subject, good work!! Thank you for doing the pears and sharing, cheers!

Kathryn Wilson
02-28-2009, 07:38 AM
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Judy for hosting this month's Pastel Strokes.

You did a fantastic job and I know everyone enjoyed participating!

Sadly, with my upcoming show, I was not able to finish my rock painting, but I'll try to get back to it real soon!

02-28-2009, 10:33 AM
Thank you Kathryn, it was my pleasure.

I am off to Mexico for a week and am not sure if I will be online down there, so thank you all for joining in on the February Pastel Strokes, you were all great!

02-28-2009, 03:34 PM
Pam, that landscape is lovely. I like the way you caught the soft transitions on the cliffs, they really move back to give a good sense of depth.

Peg, I can see why you love how your pears turned out! The glowing light in your version is delightful and if the shapes aren't perfect, the bowl is plausible even though it's changed. You're not the first who altered the proportions and the way you changed them works well.

02-28-2009, 10:16 PM
Thanks Judy and Robert. It was a lot of fun. I wish I had more time to try another. I'm already looking for next month's strokes as it's already the 1st of March here. Will have to be patient for another day. I am hoping I can finally catch up now and participate inthe thread Charlie started about colour. Oi! never enough hours in a day.

Peg, nice job on the pears! I did not feel up to the challenge for that one.

Gingersnap, welcome to the pastel forum, please join in when you feel ready (I hope that's in March).